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A number of enquiries this month regarding pregnant employees. The following are a few tips that may assist employers if they have a staff member who confirms they are pregnant.

The employer should carry out a pregnancy risk assessment during each trimester of the pregnancy. This may be subject to when the employee informs the employer of the pregnancy.

An employee is entitled to paid time off to attend hospital and related pregnancy appointments.

a. An employee should produce either an appointment card and/or letter confirming appointments to the employer.
b. The employer is required to allow the employee sufficient time to leave work and attend the appointment.
c. Depending on the time of the appointment the employee should attend work prior to and return to work following the appointment.

The employer should ensure that they complete the relevant section of the Maternity Benefit form for the employee. This is in relation to the employee receiving the 26 weeks paid statutory maternity benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection [DEASP]. A copy of this section should be placed on the employee’s personnel file.

The employee is required to confirm to the employer the due date of the baby so the employer can confirm the last working day for the employee. The employee is entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave. At least 2 weeks must be taken before the baby is due.

An employee is also entitled to a further 16 statutory weeks [this is unpaid] after the 26 weeks statutory maternity leave.

Before the employee goes on maternity leave arrange to check in with them and to keep the briefed on any changes and developments in the workplace. This can be done a couple of times during their leave. It can be an email, newsletter or catch up for a coffee.

Keeping the line of communication open allows the employee to know what’s happening in work in their absence and will assist in their return to work.

You should ensure that your maternity policy and related policies e.g. parental and paternity leave are up-to-date following recent changes.

Contact us at 01 6235908 if you need any further information on maternity leave or need a policy update or a pregnancy risk assessment form.